Aki Gimiinigonaa Mshkooziiwin (The Land Gives Us Strength): Culturally-grounded healing within the urban-Indigenous community during COVID-19
Aki Gimiinigonaa Mshkooziiwin (The Land Gives Us Strength): Culturally-grounded healing within the urban-Indigenous community during COVID‑19 is an urban Indigenous community-led knowledge mobilization project. The Cost of COVID study was a prior research collaboration that looked at social and emotional impacts of the COVID pandemic among urban Indigenous community members around Kingston, ON. Study findings emphasized that reclaiming food systems and moving toward Indigenous food sovereignty (IFS), land access and cultural revitalization will contribute to the overall wellness and sustainable health goals of the urban Indigenous community during COVID and support long-term recovery. The goal of the project is to share and action knowledge from the Cost of COVID study. We will do this by supporting IFS and building skills and awareness around cultural protocols, self-care and well-being. The key objectives are: 1) To develop, implement, and evaluate strengths-based, Indigenous community-led COVID -19 pandemic recovery solutions to increase IFS, food security, and community belonging using land- and language-based activities rooted in Indigenous languages and cultures, and 2) To improve mental health among the Indigenous community during COVID‑19 pandemic recovery using culturally grounded, land-based activities. The knowledge mobilization program will include culturally grounded and socially supportive activities: 1) community foraging during forest walks; 2) growing medicines in community gardens and 3) working together to build Personal Bundles. The Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle (IDHC), Queen’s University, and the Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest (KILN) have partnered to move the evidence from the Cost of Covid study into practice. They will work collaboratively, along with local urban Indigenous community members, to enhance programming to nurture health and well-being among urban Indigenous people in the current phase of the pandemic and into the future.